Republic of Ireland 2 Bulgaria 0
The Republic of Ireland Under-17 team got their season off to the perfect start on Tuesday as they recorded a fully-deserved victory against Bulgaria in Sofia.
The game was a friendly but it bodes well for the season ahead when Ireland will attempt to reach the Under-17 UEFA Championship finals for the second time in a row.
Patrick McEleney and Eoin Wearen grabbed second-half goals to cap off a splendid all-round performance by the Irish.
Ireland manager Sean McCaffrey will have another chance to see his charges in action against the Bulgarians on Thursday in the second part of this week’s friendly double-header.
“There will be changes for the second game because I want to give all 19 players in the squad as much time on the pitch as possible,” he said.
“The conditions are demanding on the players out here in Bulgaria which will test them. The temperature exceeds 90 degrees during match-time and the altitude is another factor because we’re situated 2,000 feet above sea-level.
“Bulgaria are an established football nation in their own right for producing good Youth teams and we did well to beat them.
“These are elements which will help the players prepare for the season ahead. The first phase of qualifiers will take place from September 26-October 1 in Luxembourg and we need to be ready for that challenge.”
Paul Whyte’s ankle injury which kept him out of the first game is easing and he will be assessed tomorrow ahead of the game before the starting team is confirmed.
Result and Fixture:
Tuesday August 12
Bulgaria 0-2 Rep. of Ireland
Thursday August 14
Bulgaria v Rep. of Ireland
Kick-off: (6pm local time, 4pm Irish time)
Republic of Ireland Under-17 Squad:
Anthony O'Connor - Blackburn Rovers
Ciaran Gallagher - Castlefin
Daniel Joyce - Reading
Eoghan Osborne - Albion Rovers
Eoin Wearen - West Ham United
Jeffrey Hendrick - Derby County
John Egan - Greenwood
Mark O'Brien - Derby County
Michael Rafter - Colchester United
Patrick McEleney – Foyle Harps
Paul Lawless - Derby County
Paul Whyte - Waterford Bohemians
Robert Benson - Athlone Town
Ryan Connolly - Derby County
Sean Skelly - Belvedere
Sean Stewart - St. Kevin’s Boys
Shane Murray - Arklow Town
Stephen McDonnell - Celtic
Sean Diamond - St. Johnstone